E.A. Sports Today

Changing course

Cider Ridge brings Billy McCroskey aboard as greens superintendent; County Two-Man pairings included

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Billy McCroskey didn’t even know the Cider Ridge property existed until he brought his son over for a high school golf match three years ago, but he’s been intrigued by it ever since.


Now he’ll get a chance to mold it as the new greens superintendent.

“The first time I stepped foot on the property was roughly three years ago and they only played the front side,” McCroskey recalled. “Looking at it then I was definitely intrigued with the contrast, the way the land rolled, the different shapes there. It was definitely interesting.

“I’ve been over a few times since then and I really enjoyed the layout. It’s definitely a fun place to play. It definitely will test all aspects of your game.”

New Cider Ridge manager Cory Etter had hired Dee Loucks for the position, completing his round of major hires for his management team, but Loucks’ employer countered and the one-time Cane Creek superintendent decided to stay.

McCroskey has been at Tally Mountain in Georgia for 12 years and has worked at Mirror Lake in Villa Rica. He has experience with both bentgrass and Bermuda greens and directly oversaw the Tallapoosa course’s conversion from bent to Champion Bermuda about 10 years ago.

That experience was critical to Etter’s search, since plans call for Cider Ridge to convert from the bentgrass greens it has offered since its opening to TifEagle Bermuda next year.

McCroskey played on bent greens in college – he currently holds a high single-digit handicap – and continued to work with them when he got in the business, but it didn’t take long to convert him to a Bermuda fan.

“We went over and looked at Anniston Country Club, I dropped one ball on the practice green and putted it and said ‘Let’s do it,’” McCroskey recalled. “We converted over and it was an extreme blessing.”

Of course, some changes can be expected to some greens to accommodate the new strain. One green that is likely to get see reshaping is No. 17.

The entire course will play with temporary greens while the transition takes place.

Among McCroskey’s other early projects are getting the bunkers back in shape, addressing irrigation and drainage issues, sprucing up some of the hillsides and the area around the existing clubhouse.

“There’s a good start of the agronomics of the property,” McCroskey said. “It needs some fine tuning and sprucing up, but with that being said I’m extremely excited about coming over. It’s going to be a blast.”

McCroskey’s son who helped introduce him to Cider Ridge is looking to follow in his dad’s footsteps in the business. He has a turf grass internship lined up for TPC-Sawgrass and just finished working the recently completed Players Championship there.

COUNTY TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: Tournament officials are looking for at least one more team to complete the field for this weekend’s Calhoun County Team Championship at Silver Lakes. Entry fee is $125 per player. Call Silver Lakes (256-892-3268) for details. Matt Miller and Chad Watson are the defending champs.

At Silver Lakes (Backbreaker/Heartbreaker)
Saturday pairings
8 a.m. – Randy Lipscomb-Drew Anderton, Ryan Limbaugh-Danny Shears
8:10 – Eric Ray-Richard Johnson, Matt Miller-Chad Watson
8:20 – Jake Goggans-Rob Davie, Chase Hollingsworth-Jono Waugh
8:30 – Kenny Okins-Rick Okins, Matt Rogers-Isabel Rogers
8:40 – Tyler Romine-Larry Reaves, Zach Mangum-Hunter Carr
8:50 – Nick Hubbard-Blake Jones, Nathan Williams-Daniel Ricks
9:00 – Jeff Champion-Justin Goree, Chris Cox-John Hill
9:10 – Brandon Hammond-John Harmon, Cain Hollingsworth-Taylor O’Connor
9:20 – Caleb Bowen-Cory Etter, Kolby Slick-Dustin Travis
9:30 – Clay Calkins-Chris Hubbard, Kevin Daugherty-Landon Daugherty
9:40 – Brennan Clay-Jeremy McGatha, Landon Straub-Jason Johnson
9:50 – Gary Wigington-Scott Martin, Will Reaves-Randy Reaves
10:00 – Adam Benefiel-Houston Black, Daily Thomas-Chad Calvert
10:10 – Will Brown-Tyler Dopson, Danny Whittaker-Tony Hicks
10:20 – Clayton Chandler-Clint Brakbil, Nick Ledbetter-Mark Hudgins
10:30 – Cody Fortenberry-Keith Fortenberry, Greg Brannon-Mike Ledbetter
10:40 – Patrick Cooper-Shawn Ledbetter, Matt Greer-Dre Davenport
10:50 – Justin Graveman-Patrick Crane, Jacob Sittre-Steven Crane
11:00 – Stan McCarley-Trevor McCarley, Bradley Elliot-Austin Elliot
11:10 – Logan Forrester-Joey Whooten, Nick Machowicz-Justin Nolin
11:20 – Jim Tindle-David Lawrence, Jerry Burell-Tim Brown
11:30 – Kenny Fulmer-Jeff Noah, TBA
11:40 – Lamar Carter-Daniel Black, Timmy Woodard-Billy Thompson

TWIN BRIDGES WELCOME: Entries are now being accepted for the Gadsden City Championship at Twin Bridges, the first points tournament of the Calhoun County Golf Tour season and Twin Bridges’ debut as a County Tour venue. Entry fee is $120 ($100 for Twin Bridges members). Deadline for entries is 5 p.m. April 2. Tournament spots cannot be held without payment. Reach out to Twin Bridges GM Chet Hallman for details (256-549-4866 or chet@twinbridgesgolf.com).

Players entering the tournament become members of the Calhoun County Tour (no extra fee), eligible for points to qualify for the season-ending Match Play Championship and the season-long statistical prizes. Players are encouraged to record hole-by-hole stats on fairways, greens and putts and turn them in with their scorecards.

Twin Bridges also is accepting entries for the Gadsden Junior Golf Association 3-Person Scramble, April 24. Entry fee is $225 per team and the field is limited to the first 30 teams. 

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